You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NRL wants French rugby to honour Barba ban

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/02/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Ben Barba. © Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Ben Barba. NRL boss Todd Greenberg says he'd like French rugby to honour Ben Barba's 12-game ban for a second positive illicit drugs test.

Barba sensationally left rugby league on Thursday after informing Cronulla he had accepted a two-and-a-half year deal worth a reported $1 million a season with Toulon.

It came after a dramatic 48 hours that included the NRL scuppering what was initially a short-term deal in France, with Barba scheduled to come back to the Sharks at the end of his suspension.

Greenberg ruined those plans by ruling Barba's penalty would only apply once his overseas commitments were over, all but ending any chance of a NRL comeback in 2017.

And he had another message on Thursday for the 27-year-old.

"Pretty simple: good luck to him. He's had to make a key decision for his future footballing career and also his family so we wish him well," Greenberg said in Auckland.

Greenberg's comments come just hours after the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) took the extraordinary step of blocking any participation by Barba in this weekend's Brisbane Tens.

The former Canterbury boss, who admits he's in regular contact with ARU counterpart Bill Pulver, wants French rugby to make the same decision ahead of its new season.

Asked whether he'd like to see French rugby honour Barba's ban, Greenberg said: "I think collaboration between sports is important. Clearly, we have a lot of that already.

"But we're not talking about minor offences here. We're talking about some pretty significant issues. So I think sports across the world should be looking at all those things together."

Sharks boss Lyall Gorman left the door open for Barba to return down the line, but applauded the game for taking a hardline stance on drug use.

He said perception was paramount to ensure the growth of the game.

"One of the greater challenges that we have in terms of growing our game on a holistic point of view ... is around the perception of the game and player behaviour," he said.

"I think a line in the sand has been made very clear, that that sort of player behaviour won't be tolerated in this code. That's where we should put our focus on."

Barba could make his rugby debut for Toulon on February 19 in their season-opener.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon